Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Heroes Helping Kids

Now that’s inspiring ...

Tim Co. is a Pictage member, Pictage User Group (PUG) leader, Wedding Photographer, terrific guy, hero. Hero you say? Yes, hero. At least in my book. Here’s why.

Lots of people talk about building great relationships with their clients. Tim does it. In fact, right now he’s somewhere on the East Coast of Florida walking 500 miles with one of his brides. This isn’t just any bride and it isn’t just any walk. That’s why Tim’s such a hero. Here’s some background...

Growing up wasn’t as easy as it should have been for Lauren Book-Lim. In fact, she endured the nightmare of child abuse by her nanny from the age of 10 until she was 16. She never told anyone because she was ashamed and scared. That would have been enough to break most people, especially when the abuse turned toward something akin to torture, but Lauren Book-Lim hasn’t just survived, she is thriving. Where most would want to leave this nightmare behind, she has turned around and she’s taking this cause on head on, founding an organization called Laurenskids to get the message out that “It’s Ok to Tell.” Her courage and her character are an inspiration.

Tim Co photographed her wedding in 2008 and her story inspired him to get involved. He has photographed many Laurenskids events and has stayed close to this friend/client. When he heard she was going to walk 500 miles up the coast of Florida, he dropped everything to get involved and is walking the walk with her, 30 miles a day, and frequently jogging back to get on the bus to edit and upload pictures to the blog (image on the bottom of this post). When Tim took a break for 30 miles to shoot video, Sara Kauss grabbed her cameras and filled in with stills, showing that Tim’s not the only wedding photographer willing to jump in for a cause. Way to go Sara! (You can see Tim and Sara with Lauren in the picture above. Tim's got the 'flip' and Sara is shooting away (yellow shorts) as Lauren greets an inspired young admirer.

I asked Tim why he was doing this. “Because there was really no option.” I love that. Sure there was Tim. You could have told her, ‘good luck’ and stayed home like most people would have. Instead, you’re there.

“I am not good at very many things,” Tim said, “I was determined to use the one thing I can do to significantly impact Lauren's efforts to raise awareness for her cause.”

And that awareness is important. Current statistics suggest that as many as 1 in 3 girls is sexually abused (1 in 6 boys) before they reach the age of 18. There are an estimated 39MM abuse survivors in the US today. (That’s more than the population of California). April is sexual abuse month so Tim decided there was nothing left to do but walk.

They’re out there somewhere along the way right now. It’s evening in Florida. You can find their blog here and if you’re in Florida swing by and honk or walk a little and say hello. It isn’t often you get to rub elbows with heroes and that’s what Tim and Lauren are.

In my book heroes are the folks who decide that something needs to change and they step up and do everything they can to change it. They are the voice of the silent. They are the hands and feet of the disabled. They are the identity of the unknown. Their courage is based on their conviction that whatever bad might come to them is eclipsed by the good that can come from what they do. They know the cost. They move ahead anyway and step by step, these two courageous souls and the folks who are walking along with them, following online on twitter and through the blog with Tim’s images and Lauren’s heartfelt words, are making a difference...and if that impacts just one child’s life, it will have been worthwhile.

Thanks for sharing your story Tim and give Lauren a hug for me and tell her we know about her and we’re here for her and we’re standing up and cheering...and I know that thousands of other wedding and portrait photographers will be too!


Jim Collins said...

As an update, I heard they can use some money to pay the bills along the way. I donated $100. You can donate any amount. Let's help them reach their goal.


Tim Co. said...

Jim thank you so much for doing this - you are truly amazing, and I'm not a hero I'm just a regular guy who thought to help. The continued support of yourself and Pictage are greatly appreciated.

Misty Miotto said...

Just found the search tool on the forums :0) and searched under Orlando and found this story. What an amazing organization. Some people are abused by family members which makes it even more embarrassing to say something and even more ashamed. I was working with a girl last year that her own mother kicked her out at the age of 12 because her step father molested her and she told her daughter it was her fault and that she was a whore. She was 12 only 12 kicked out on the streets where she was picked up by a pimp the only one who could promise her a safe warm place to lay her head. This is so very sad! Good for you Tim! I don't know many men who stick up for this cause as do women unless they are directly effected somehow. You are a true hero. Laws need to become more strict in these areas children need to feel like they have a place to go if they do say something. I have so much to say on this subject but it's not my Blog! Thanks for Sharing!